Building For Life
In 2012 urban designer Dr Stefan Kruczkowski and David Birkbeck wrote Building for Life 12 for the era of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Its structure, based on Dr Kruczkowski’s experience of processing planning applications in local planning departments and Birkbeck’s original Building for Life design principles, weeds out poor design early in pre-application discussion. Its value to local planning authorities was established when many adopted it in local plan policy.
In March 2018 that value was acknowledged by the Government in a draft update of NPPF which recommends LPAs use it to achieve better design outcomes, confirmed in 2019 by the publication of the revised edition (page 39 paragraph 129). In 2019 Homes England adopted BFL12 as its principal test for whether proposals are of good enough quality to warrant land sales or investment support. A new iteration is due this winter that will help applications focus more on active travel, air quality and biodiversity. For now, the 2018 version is available as a free download below.
How does Built for Life affect existing communities?
Most people do not like change, and a new housing development in your area can be a cause for concern. Will the development be unsympathetic to local the local area, or will it overstretch local facilities, and will there be any new homes for local people?
Building for life is an initiative by the housing industry which attempts to address these concerns, by setting standards which developers have to meet in order to achieve planning approval. As such it has been adopted by many local authorities for planning approval.
Homebuilders have to show that they are integrating with the local community, via existing road and public transport links. They have to provide local amenities, including car parking spaces, within the scheme, and provide a mix of property types including homes suitable for local people.
You can find out more about your local Built for Life housing development and how it meets the Building for Life 12 criteria on this website. In short, a Built for Life commended housing scheme aims to be a better neighbour.
Why should I consider buying a home on a Built for Life commended development?
Building For Life Publication